The only all-British crew in this year’s Transat Jacques Vabre can’t wait to get racing. With just ten days to go, supercharged twenty-three year old Ned Collier Wakefield and twenty-one year old Sam Goodchild are heading for the start-line in France (Thursday, 20th October).
The duo are the youngest crew ever to take part in the iconic double-handed ocean classic that runs from Le Havre, France to Puerto Limon, Costa Rica. It’s over 4500 miles of some of the roughest passages in the world. This will be the longest, hardest and most prestigious race both sailors have ever done.
The last two weeks have been spent training and carrying out final preparations to their Class 40 boat, Concise 2 in Hamble.
Sam Goodchild: 'Training in the Solent has been going well. It’s been short but intense. We’ve combined fine tuning of boat-work with carefully stocking Concise with the food and spares we need for the race. We have also had some serious medical checks.We were both wired up for an ECG last week to make sure we’re fit enough for the race and had no hidden weaknesses The good news is we both passed!'
Sam and Ned will be living on a mixture of freeze-dried and boil-in-the-bag meals as well as 800 calorie super porridge for breakfast. Snacks of dried fruit, nuts. and energy bars will supplement their diets. They’ve got enough food onboard for 25 days but they hope the race will take no more than 23. After that it’s short rations.
Ned Collier Wakefield: 'I’m eating a lot of carbs right now! Eight thousand calories a day. When I did the Round Britain and Ireland race I lost 10 kilos in 9 days! When we’re offshore we should be eating a minimum of 4000 calories a day and when cold and wet that should increase to 6000 '.
The race will be a massive test for these young sailors. For Sam, it’s his first ever transatlantic race and the first double-handed transatlantic race for Ned.
Ned Collier Wakefield: 'We will be on a flexible watch system. Depending on the conditions and point of sail there will be at least one of us on deck at all times. Both of us will be on deck for every race maneuver such as sail changes. Damage to a sail could mean the end of the race for us, so we have to be careful.'
Sam Goodchild: 'We’ll sleep on our giant waterproof beanbag. We try to get 3-4 hours of sleep a day depending on the conditions but if it cuts up rough we could go for days without proper rest.
There are 16 boats in their class but Concise 2 is the only one using the North Sails 3Di technology. With it’s state off the art pilot system, sophisticated navigational equipment and determined crew, Concise 2 is looking for a good result.
Ned Collier Wakefield: 'Although we’re racing against many other Class 40s there are subtle differences between us, our challenge is not to match the other boats but to beat them!' Transat Jacques Vabre website